Setting Goals

We all can set goals.  I've set more goals than a hunter sets traps.  But just because you've made a goal does not mean that you will automatically make it.  They hang over our heads like Eeyore's cloud, flustering and worrying us.  Eternal shame will be our life if we don't make them.
So how can we save ourselves from this pit of despair we willingly threw ourselves into?

Set Definable Goals

(I can hear everyone groan.)

If your goal is to get outside more, that can be kind of elusive.  At the end of the year, how will you be able to know if you met that goal?  Getting outside can be achieved by going to check the mailbox or opening the front door to let the cat out, right?  Or were you thinking more along the lines of going to a social event every month or going on a couple hikes?  With an elusive goal, at the end of the day, you can think "eh, I walked to the car on my way to work, I'm good."

But changing your goal to something clearly set, like walk up the driveway and back every day is easier to remember, easier to strive towards, easier to actually achieve.  And if you get into the habit of walking up the driveway every evening, you'll find yourself getting into the habit, and then even dragging it out...maybe you'll stop to talk with a neighbor, or pull those few weeds between the cracks of the steps to the porch.  Maybe you'll realize the weather is beautiful, and sit out on the lawn or walk down the road.

If you give yourself a simple, easy goal, it's harder to forget and ignore it.

Set a Lower Paper Goal

Last year, I set a goal to read 50 books.  That's what I told my friends I wanted to meet, it's what I wrote down in my bullet journal.  I was fairly certain I could reach that goal, even if life threw a few curveballs.

This may sound a bit stupid, but just keep reading, okay?

Set a Higher Actual Goal

My paper goal was 50 books.  But actually, I was going to push myself to 70.  That was my real goal.  And when I reached 80 by the end of November, I decided to push myself to 100.

This year, I did NaNoWriMo.  My goal was to write 50K of my new book.  That's what NaNo is about, right??  But actually my goal was to reach 100K.  I knew I could do 50K.  I do 50K all the time.  But I was going to push myself and try something harder.

The actual goal may never get announced to the outside world (okay, maybe just to a close friend or two).  But it's always in the back of your mind, whenever you look at your paper goals.  If you reach your paper goal, you can be excited.  You can cross that one off the list.  But you still push yourself on towards the higher goal.

Little Steps

This kind of goes with setting definable goals.  Publishing my Novel isn't just achieved by one single act.  It's comprised of lots of little tiny things, all scattered and completed throughout the year.  You write the book.  Cross that off.  Edit it.  Cross that off.  Research agents, editors, publishing houses.  Pitch it.  Sign a book deal.  Or maybe you upload to a self-publishing platform.  Do the formatting.  Check the proof copy.  Set the release date.

Instead of making a Publish goal, maybe lay out the steps and see how far you can get.  Make a goal to at least get all the way to pitching your novel, and make that the paper goal.


If you don't reach your goals for good, honest reasons, you have no reason to be ashamed or to feel bad.  If you lost a close friend or family member, and stopped running for a month, that's okay.  If you needed to save money and couldn't go to the conference or vacation trip, that's okay.  If you were so busy with your own writing that you couldn't read all the books, that's okay.  That is real life, that is putting the most important things first.  You should be proud of yourself for what you did in the time you had.

If you didn't make your goals because you binge-watched a TV series or scrolled through Tumblr instead of reading or writing or running, than you should feel guilty.

Never Give Up

If you got sick and stopped running for two weeks, than perhaps you may not reach your goal of running that marathon.  But you can always get back into running and be happy with running a half-marathon instead.  Or just run a different marathon next month.

Get as close to reaching your goal as you possibly can.  Don't just throw in the towel when it looks like you might not make it.  You never know - you may actually reach it in the end if you just keep pushing towards it!


Setting and reaching goals is good for us.  We need to learn self-control, perseverance, hard work.  Yes, the world will not end if we don't reach our goal of reading 30 books.  But if we learn to say no to YouTube temptations, we will be all the better for it.

In the Real World, sometimes there are deadlines that must be met.  Taxes have to be filed on time.  Work quotas have to be reached by the expected date.  Our jobs, our paychecks, our well-being, may depend on this.  And if you've learned how to turn off your phone, throw your shoulders back, and get stuff done, you are already ahead of the game.

Shared WIP Tag - Writing Goals

Hello everyone and welcome to the official announcement for the first 2019 round of the Shared WIP Tag!!!

This time around, we're going to be focusing the tag on writing goals - for the year, for all time, or just for Camp NaNo!!  Knowing the nature of the tag, it might also depend on what path everyone takes the questions in the end.

We'll begin drafting questions in March, and put the posts up in April, so anyone taking part in Camp NaNo won't have to worry about their blog during that time and can focus on Camp.

If you're new to the Shared WIP Tag, check out the page on my blog.  Basically, though, all the participants work together in a shared Google Doc to decide what questions will be asked.  Once that's all decided, everyone goes off to draft their answers, and then post their answers on the same day (as much as possible, due to life and time zones).

To join in, shoot me a message via the "Contact Me" button on the side of my blog.  If you already have my email, then just email me.  :)

(Also, can we agree that Shared WIP Tag seems to be the official title now?)

2019 Winter Games

As most of y'all are aware, I'm a runner (at least, I'm a person who runs).  And in my running circles, there's this guy nicknamed The Rabid Squirrel.  He puts on a bunch of crazy races throughout the year, and in order to run, you have to fail a sanity exam.  Yup.  The first time you ever run one of his races, you are given a nickname, which is then your forever running name for his events.  (If anyone is interested, my nickname is Tolkien Ghost Bees.)


And, once a year, he puts on The Winter Games.  Basically a crazy version of the Winter Olympics.  And this year, my brother and I participated.  My brother was on Team Norway, and I was on Team Palau (yes, that's a real place, look it up, lol).

Norway was hosting the games this year.

Basically, how this works, is all the events are split into three places - The Olympic Village, The Slopes, and The Track.  The teams (countries) are split into rotations, so there are always three teams at each place.  At noon we take a break for lunch and play Yukigassen, and then continue the rotations.  After everyone is done, the Hockey Championships are played.  Then comes the figure dancing, and then awards are given.  Sounds confusing, right?  YUP.

The Opening Ceremony

The torch is handed back and forth to a representative from each country, and they bring in their flag bearer.  Once all the flags are in, the games are open!
Norway lights the torch.
(Kids and fire and flags and wind...nothing could go wrong here!)

Canada representatives coming in.

Palau flag bearer.

Norway presents The Rabid Squirrel himself with a gift for putting on the games.

The Slopes

Alpine Running

Basically run downhill as fast as you can and weave between the flags.  Simple, right?  Yeah, try zipping around those at top speed on a steep hill with lots of roots.  But it was fun.

Lots of zigging and sagging and tripping.

Even kids got to compete for their teams (countries).

Bobsled and Luger

Sleds with wheels going downhill.  Oh, and you can't steer them.  And they like to go backwards or shoot off the road.  Also, don't fall off because that hurts.  And getting your thumb rolled over hurts to.  Oh - and don't get hit by a car.

Basically you start at the top of the hill, the timer shouts GO, and you push off and continue to push to get the sled to go as fast as you can.  Once you cross the line, the timer stops, and that time is recorded.  Now you can no longer push and must coast to a stop, trying to get as far as you can.  One the sled stops, stretch your hand (or foot, if you ended up backwards) as far as you can.  That's where your length is recorded.

Palau steering available.

Greenland trying to achieve speed.

Watch out for the neighbors!

So there are no pictures to be found anywhere, since apparently everyone was 100% confused.  So read the instructions for yourself.

The Track

Ski Jump

Fairly self explanatory.  Get a running start, run up the ramp, and try to jump as far as you can.  Wherever your heel lands, that's where the length is recorded.  Just don't face or knee plant after impact.

It's harder than it looks...

My brother showing me how he jumped to win the gold medal.


Pulling a sled with weights a certain difference, being timed as to how long it takes you.  Women pull 100 lbs, men 140, young children either an empty sled or else a weight or two.  Basically trying to make everything even.


Ice Chucking

Stand at line, chuck ice as far as you can.  Don't hit the cars lining the road.



A game of teamwork.  There are six objectives, and you must choose a teammate to do each objective.  The timer starts and everyone runs out into the woods.  They complete the objective, and run back.  Once everyone is finished and back at the start, the timer ends.

The Objectives
I was given the task of Pillaging...

Don't be fooled...this fishy weights about 50 lbs!

Plunder Map

Olympic Village

Nice Hockey
Basically, a hockey game, played against the other two teams with you on your rotation.  The winners of the three rotations compete in the finals for gold, silver, and bronze.  Two people from a team play at a time, switching how however they like.  Try to score as many goals as you can in 10 minutes.

Norway vs. Great Britian

Palau vs. Peru
Hockey Sticks
Place three pucks on the four X's in the four corners of the rink.  Try to shoot as many into the goal as you can.  (No pictures...nice hockey was far more exciting!)
Play against a member of the opposing team.  Slide or push the "stones" onto the circles and knock out your opponent.

For some reason I could never find someone to play against??  So I never actually got to do it...
Hot Chocolate
Basically throwing marshmallows into a cup from different distances.  (And for some reason no one got any pictures of this as well???)  The further the distance the higher the points per one you get in.
Big Marshmallows
Same as above, only using HUGE marshmallow pillows and throwing them off the porch into a box down below.
Essentially Capture the Flag crossed with Dodgeball.  A game is 4 minutes long, with four teams playing at a time.  They place their country flag in a spot and try to keep other teams from stealing it.  If you get hit with a ball, you're out.  If you manage to capture an opposing flag, you must run with it to the middle of the course and get it to the tree with the Russian flag on it (the winning team from last year).  After every team has played 4 rounds, the four teams with the most points compete in the championship.

Once all the teams have done their rotations, everyone heads back to the Olypmic Village for the Hockey Championship.  Greenland won, followed by Norway, and Palau came in bronze.

Then the Ice Dancing and Bad Figure Dancing was held.

All in all, everyone had a really good time.  Only had to call 911 ONCE - when someone let one of the dogs out.  He took off, running through a crowd of people and tripping Susan.  She fell and dislocated her knee.  But otherwise was unhurt.

A car did get hit with a chunk of ice while Great Britian was ice chucking.  There were also some mixups about timing and how exactly a few things were to be completed.  But all in all, everyone had a great time.


Forging the Fellowship

Julia over at Lit Aflame created this tag, which sounds kinda neat!  (Okay, I lied...I actually stressed over these questions and stared at my bookshelf and flipped open books and panicked and then just grabbed some random characters and said this is my fellowship and we're all going to die.)(So thanks Julia, thanks a lot for that.)


The Rules
Include the tag banner in your post

Link back to the creator of the tag

Thank and link back to the person who tagged you

Forge your Fellowship Out of book characters by answering the given questions!

Tag three bloggers to pass the ring to.

The Questions

[The Ring Bearer]: If you could choose, which of the four races would you be: Elf, Dwarf, Human, or Hobbit?

Umm...honestly, I'd love to live in Rohan. (so um...human??)  All those horses (and more horses)!!!  Edoras has always been a favorite place in the books and movies.  So maybe I'd be a gal from Rohan who travels a lot, maybe has friends among the rangers and visits Rivendell?  :)

[Gandalf the Grey]: A wise/powerful elder/mentor character.

Prof. Hamilton!  Like...who doesn't want him as a mentor??

[Aragorn]: A character with good survival skills.

Leith, hands down.  Have you seen some of the stunts he pulls??  Like riding into the dessert alone...yeah, this guy is a survivor.  (Plus I just want him in my little Fellowship, okay??)

[Boromir]: A character who makes mistakes, but has a good heart.

Parvin, from the Out of Time Trilogy.  Yeah, she makes mistakes, but she's trying.  She may not always have the right idea, but we all know she's got a good heart.

[Gimli]: A stubborn character.

Enna.  Love her, but she's feisty and thick-headed and opinionated and good ol' Finn just puts up with her and they're adorable.

[Legolas]: A character who is talented.

Ahhhhh does wrestling gators, failing at Feechiesings, and causing panic at a play count???  Then I'm going with Dobro Turtlebane, the best part of the entire Wilderking Trilogy.

[Peregrin Took]: A character who at first seems useless, but ends up surprising you.

The first character that came to mind is actually from Sarah Rodecker's story The Herbalist's War, but I don't want to drop any spoilers and get into trouble...

[Meriadoc Brandybuck]: A character who is small/not very strong, but has great courage.

Brandi, from The Blades of Acktar.  She may be just a little girl, but she's brave and courageous (and maybe a tad bit reckless). 

[Samwise Gamgee]: A character who is extremely loyal and doesn’t give up.

Um, the first character that jumped to mind was Cullen from The Silver Branch.  He's a little fellow, but very loyal.  Maybe a tiny bit foolish.  But still fiercely brave.
I tag...
Someone who knows at least two of these characters...
Someone who might consider wrestling a gator...if it's a baby one
Someone who would gladly live at Rohan

January Wrap-Up

So far, 2019 is wet.  Very wet.  And kinda cold.  I've had a few people tell me that this is the most rain we've ever received in our neck of NC in a looooooong time.  (And we got snow, too.  So yay for that, I guess.)

I spent most of January chilling (relaxing...and freezing).  I read a bunch of books.  I wrote a few little short stories.  Worked with the horses around the house (since all the trails are closed because of the rain).

Also went on a tiny trip to Gatlinburg, TN with my family.  That was nice.  We didn't ski, since Sister 1 is having back problems and wouldn't have been able to hit the slopes with us.  So we went ice skating and did other things.

I did do a lot of ice skating this month.  There's a local rink we go to on Fridays, and we also went skating while in Gatlinburg.  (Also had to go for the Winter Games...I'm on Team Palau and my brother is on Norway.  The official Games are in February, but the ice skating section was earlier, to work with everyone's schedules.)  Sister 2 is able to cruise around by herself without even going near the rail, and Sister 3 will let go of the rail for a few steps at a time.  Meanwhile Sister 1, Brother, and myself are all sailing around, attempting spins and fun stuff like that.  :)

And also went to a hockey game with family and friends.  That was pretty fun.  (And went ice skating before it, lol)

In case you haven't noticed, I've also been updating the look of my blog.  Honestly, I felt like it was a little too dark?  And I just wanted something a little brighter and more cheery.  Also, purple is my favorite color.

Favorite Read of January

Defy, by Tricia Mingerink.  Definitely.  I cried again while reading it.  But it's just sooooo good.  But since it's a re-read, does that count?

If so, my favorite new read of January might just have to be the first part of History of the Reformation Volume I, by Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné.  I actually didn't expect to like it so much.  I was planning to only read a chapter a day, sort of on the side.  And the author started with a "pardon me for talking about Geneva so much, and about what happens before Calvin came to it" and I was like oh boy, this is gonna be boring...

Well, let me tell wasn't.  And not only was it really interesting, now I'm looking into writing a historical fiction (maybe historical fantasy, since that's getting popular?) about Geneva and the fight for freedom there.  Cause was pretty cool.  Political intrigue, torture, fights, heroes...and I'm reading a lot more a day than I thought I would.

(Or does that one not count either, since I haven't actually finished the entire thing?  I'm now on the second part in the book??)

Favorite Movie of January

At least I have a solid answer for this one!  Hands down, Black Lightning.  Though technically we started watching it in 2018 (so maybe not a solid answer).  It's one of the movies we watched while staying up waiting for the new year to roll around.  It's in Russian, but I believe you can also get a version with English subtitles from Amazon?  But it's such a super cute movie with some very good lessons.  It's kind of a superhero movie?  But really, it's amazing.
Daily Bible Reading Plan
Going strong!  Haven't gotten behind, and thankfully have gotten somewhat of a schedule down.
The Inevitable Photo Dump

Ice storm.
Tree down on the fence after the ice storm.

Working all 3 at once-ride Pepper and lead Spirit and Bree.

Taking the tram in Gatlinburg up to the mountain.

Winter Games - representing Team Palau.

"Story Research"
How was your January?  It's been pretty cold here in the South, but not as bad as the Midwest, so I for all my friends who have the negative temperatures, I'm so, so sorry.